During the first few days of November 1914 Messines was lost—in silence; during the first few days of June 1917 Messines was regained—and the noise of its capture was heard in London. And during the two and a half years between these two events the game over the water has been going on.
It hasn't changed very much in the time—that game—to the player. To those who look on, doubtless, the difference is enormous. Now they speak easily of millions where before they thought diffidently of thousands. But to the individual—well, Messines is lost or Messines is won; and he is the performer. It is of those performers that I write: of the hole-and-corner work, of the little thumb-nail sketches which go to make up the big battle panels so ably depicted over the matutinal bacon and eggs.
And as one privileged to assist at times in that hole-and-corner work, I offer these pages as a small tribute to those who have done so far more than I: to the men who have borne the burden of the days, the months, the years—to the men who have saved the world—to the Infantrymen.